Fewer construction apprentices means higher numbers in other professions

The number of people undertaking apprenticeships is on the rise but fewer are training in trades, new analysis has shown.

Direct Line for Business looked at Office of National Statistics (ONS) data on apprenticeships and vocational qualifications for 2005-2014. It revealed that the total number of apprenticeships reached 434,630 in 2013-14, a 57 per cent increase from five years before.


Different courses on top

However, subject trends are changing. While construction skills apprenticeships were the most popular in 2006-7, attracting 20,000 trainees, they have fallen out of favour more recently, slipping to ninth place in the subject tables in 2013-14.

The top three apprenticeships in 2013-14 by number of places were health and social care (70,080 places), business administration (44,190) and management (33,140). These represent 15.9 per cent, 10 per cent and 7.5 per cent of the total number of apprenticeships respectively.

Nick Breton, head of Direct Line for Business said: “Construction and trade-based skills are vital to the UK economy. It’s tradespeople who come to the rescue when our boiler fails, and are the ones who are working every day to build homes, offices and help improve our roads.


Skills gap will affect everyone

“Apprenticeships are important for budding builders, plumbers and electricians to get into the workplace. With fewer people in apprenticeships there is a risk of creating a skills gap that will affect businesses and consumers alike.

“The introduction of the new £3 billion apprenticeship levy in the government’s Autumn Statement and the promise of three million new apprenticeships across the UK is a positive move, which we hope will make it easier for SMEs to ensure that they have access to skilled young workers.”